Before you come into hospital

If you have been booked to come into hospital for treatment, this date will be shown on your letter. Please contact the ward on the planned day of admission to confirm time of admission. To make your stay more comfortable, there are a number of things you can do before you come in.

Organising your stay

If possible, please ask a family member or carer to bring you to hospital. They can wait while you are being admitted and take home any clothes or personal items you won’t need during your stay.

Pensions and benefits

Most Social Security benefits are reduced while you are in hospital, so once you receive a date to come in, you should tell the appropriate office at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

You may be entitled to disability benefits or additional benefits after you are discharged. If you need to discuss your personal circumstances with social workers ward staff can make a referral for you.

Home security

If you live alone, remember to cancel newspapers and milk and ask someone to keep an eye on your property.

What to bring

We would advise you to leave all valuables, particularly jewellery, at home. Too many personal belongings are difficult to store and make it difficult to keep the area around your bed clean.

When you are coming to stay in hospital it will be useful to bring the following with you:

• Your admission letter as this contains specific instructions about your admission and treatment. Please read this carefully before you come to hospital
• All your current medication in their original containers
• Any other written information you have been given by your GP
• Personal toiletries such as soap, flannel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shaving equipment and tissues
• Two towels
• Two nightdresses/pyjamas, a dressing gown and slippers
• Glasses/contact lens/hearing aids (if applicable)
• A small amount of money for buying items such as newspapers
• Any mobility aids such as a walking stick or frame
• Book/magazine
• A favourite toy for a child.

Please inform nursing staff if you have a permanent pacemaker or implantable defibrillator and bring the device settings in to hospital with you.

Please also mark personal property with your name, if possible, so that it can be easily identified. Do not bring in any valuables, large amounts of money or jewellery. The Trust accepts no liability for any loss, damage or theft of any property belonging to a patient/client, except when the property has been deposited for safekeeping.

Common questions

How long will I be in hospital?

You and your family / carers will be informed by your Consultant / ward staff how long you are likely to be in hospital. This will be discussed on admission and throughout your stay so that you and your family / carers can plan for when you leave. On the day of discharge we would like as many patients as possible to leave the hospital before 1pm. When planning to go home please make arrangements to leave as early in the day as possible.

Which ward will I be admitted to?

You will be admitted to a ward capable of caring for your specific needs. During your admission process you will be fitted with a hospital wristband with accurate details that correctly identify you and match you to your records, results and all other documentation. You must wear this wristband at all times during your stay.

There may be occasions when you will be asked to move to another area of the hospital, or indeed another hospital, either because of your care needs have changed or you are almost ready for discharge. The ward staff will tell you and your family / carers if we plan to move you to another ward.

Should I bring my current prescribed medicines?

It is very important to bring in all medicines or tablets you are taking as the doctor will need to see them. If you hold a special card giving details of any current treatment, such as a steroid card, you should also bring this with you.

If you are taking medication prescribed for you by your GP, this will be re-prescribed for you when you come into hospital by the hospital doctor, if it is appropriate for your condition.

When you bring your medication into hospital it may be that the ward will continue to use your supply, so it is important that you bring the whole box with you and not just a strip of tablets. This may particularly happen if you are admitted during the night, or if you are on an unusual medication, or on a trial medication. Please also inform the doctor if you routinely take any complementary medicines or medication bought from a chemist shop.

The nurses caring for you will carry out regular medicines rounds. If you need painkillers or medication that do not fit in with the medicine round times, please ask the nurse looking after you. A pharmacist comes to the ward each day to check the prescription charts and is happy to answer any questions you may have about your medication. It may be possible for you to administer your own medication while in hospital, but this should be discussed with the nurse and Consultant in charge of your care.

Can I bring electrical appliances?

If you wish to bring personal electrical items into the hospital we would ask that you speak to the Ward Sister / Charge Nurse to agree that the electrical equipment is in good condition. The safe use and maintenance of personal equipment remains your responsibility and any damaged equipment must be removed from use immediately.

Please tell the nursing staff who can keep a record of such items and ask you to sign a disclaimer form, this includes electronic gadgets such as MP3 players, IPods and kindles. The Trust cannot be responsible for any loss or damage.

Can a relative stay overnight?

Relatives/friends can visit during specified times during your hospital stay. In selected areas facilities are available for relatives to stay overnight.  Advice can be given by ward staff during your stay in hospital.

Page last updated:30 January 2013